Shakhimardan — Asia Travel

shahimardanShakhimardan is a fabulously beautiful place. It is hard to find a prettier area throughout the Ferghana Valley, and Uzbekistan in the whole. Located 55 kilometers to the south from Ferghana at an altitude of 1500 meters above a sea level, the town is conveniently situated in a valley on the northern slopes of the Alai Range. On two sides it is washed by the mountain rivers named Ok-su and Kok-su, which merging, form Shakhimardan-sai. Narrow, but fast and unpredictable river reserves the place from intruders like a guarding chained dog, because in order to get to Shakhimardan one has to cross it for seven times.

Small in area and not densely populated (5 thousand inhabitants) village is a small island in Uzbekistan, surrounded by Batkesk region of Kyrgyzstan. It so happened that in the 30-s years the village was moved away to Uzbekistan in process of exchanging of territories with Kyrgyzstan, and now there is 17 kilometers on the territory of neighboring States from this tiny enclave to the mainland about. In 2004 year, the Kyrgyz side had some of territorial claims towards the return of this land. However, they were quickly solved by introducing the Uzbek regime of visa-free entry into the enclave for the citizens of both countries.

A small Shakhimardan keeps a very interesting story, in many respects it is connected with the name of Hazrat Ali, the former fourth caliph and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. There is a version that during his stay in Central Asia, he had visited the village and perhaps, one of his seven graves is namely here. Moreover, it is considered to be so, because the name of «Shakhimardan» is translated as «Lord of the people», which fully corresponds with the name of a saint. Unfortunately, this version has neither confirm nor refute. But what is known for sure, is the fact that in 20-s years of the last century in the heart of Shakhimardan, the Complex of Hazrat Ali, consisted of a mosque and a mausoleum, existed. The place was honored much among Muslims, and many people used to come to worship the saint.

But in times of persecution of believers the mausoleum was destroyed, and it was restored only in 1993 year, after Uzbekistan gained its independence.
In Soviet times Shakhimardan was used to be named Hamzaabad, in honor of Hamza Hakim-zade Niyazi – a poet and founder of the Uzbek drama art. Because of its progressive views, Hamza had many enemies and in 1929 year was killed in Shakhimardan by Islamic fundamentalists. In the 60-s years a mausoleum and a museum were built in his honor in the village, and in 1989 year to commemorate the 100-th anniversary of the poet from the day when he was born, a monument to this talented man was raised
Seven kilometers to the southeast of Shakhimardan, Blue Lake (Kulikubbon) is located which arose after a series of strong earthquakes in 1766 year. Lake which length is 170 and width of 60 meters lies at an altitude of 1,724 meters above a sea level and has a maximum depth of 5-10 meters. The water temperature even in the summer does not rise above 10-15 C. The lake can be reached by a cable car, with its length of two kilometers.

A healthful mountain air, wonderful nature, swift rivers and mesmerizing expanse of the lake make Shakhimardan to be a favorite vacation spot for residents of Ferghana and Margilan, as well as a desirable target for real travelers.